Senior Profile: Conor Ward

Graduating fifth-year dual-degree student Conor Ward poses for a portrait surrounded by his art in his off-campus apartment on May 14. Ray Bernoff / The Tufts Daily

As a dual-degree student at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) and the School of Arts and Sciences, graduating senior Conor Ward has spent much of his time at Tufts traveling between the Medford/Somerville and Fenway campuses. Out of everyone Ward has known during his college experience, the person who has impacted him the most is the driver of the SMFA shuttle.

“I spent a lot of time [on] the SMFA shuttle, and the guy who drives every weekday morning is Darryl Walker,” Ward said. “He is the most positive light, and every morning he greets me with a fist bump and he is just beaming. A lot of people despise the shuttle, but he makes it as enjoyable as he can.”

Ward is graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering psychology and a bachelor of arts degree in studio art, with a concentration in sculpture, graphic design and installation. The San Francisco native is glad to have been a part of multiple communities during his undergraduate career, and spoke about the differences between the SMFA and the Medford/Somerville campus.

“The friends that I have made at the SMFA are quite different than your average Tufts student,” he said. “They really do have a different way of interacting with the world, and to be a part of two student bodies has been very interesting.”

Attending the SMFA has provided Ward with a unique outlet to express himself.

“[The SMFA] has given me perspective on my own ways of operating,” he said. “I love the facilities, and there are some really awesome professors. It is a refuge where I am largely undistracted, and it is very healthy for me to be alone for periods of time where I do not have to worry about being interrupted.”

Due to his background in studio art, sculpture and graphic design, Ward has been able to contribute extensively to the Crafts Center, a student-run art studio and maker space. He served as one of the student managers of the center for the past two years.

Ward said that one of his greatest accomplishments at Tufts was his role in increasing the collaborative efforts and accessibility of the Crafts Center.

“I’ve been able to transform Crafts Center into a more functional and open space for the Tufts community, as well as bring several local artists in to teach workshops to students,” he said.

Ward is also proud to have been able to put on several successful art shows for the Tufts community. One show, organized in collaboration with Active Minds at Tufts, focused around the role that art plays in wellness. Another was the Craft Center’s themeless spring 2017 art show, which showcased the work of both students and staff.

Throughout his five years at Tufts, Ward believes that he has changed and grown significantly.

“I am a lot more confident, and I’ve definitely had a lot of successes,” he said. “I’ve also been able to contribute to many different communities at Tufts, and I am much more aware of my position in society. I feel a lot more in-tune with issues, within our country and our world.”

As for the future, Ward is planning on taking a road trip across the country to his hometown of San Francisco. He wants to continue using his artistic skills in all of his endeavors, and has many different ideas as to where he will apply his unique background.

For the incoming class of 2021, Ward had a few words of wisdom.

“Learn how and when to say no,” he said. “There is this plague at Tufts of overcommitment. Everyone I know succumbs to [a] socially motivated, peer pressured driven impulse to fill every single moment of our Google calendars. It really makes it so that the important things are the first to fall. If all your time is being given to extracurriculars, and none of it is going toward yourself, then you will regret it.”

Ward also encouraged Tufts students to find their inner child.

“Remember how to have fun, and ask your younger self how to have fun, because this school makes it difficult to have fun,” he said.